The Renting Homes (Wales) (Fees etc.) Bill successfully passed Stage 4 of the Assembly’s legislative process on 27 March 2019.
Under the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Bill is now proceeding through a period of legal consideration for four weeks before receiving Royal Assent, which means that the Bill becomes an Act. After that, we anticipate that Royal Assent will be received in May.
During the passage of the Bill, the Minister for Housing and Local Government was clear that she wished to see this important legislation in force as soon as possible. However, she understands that landlords and agents need time to adjust their business models in order to comply with the change. Her intention, provided the Bill receives Royal Assent, is to commence the ban on fees on 1 September 2019.
The legislation will ban certain payments unless they are allowed under Schedule 1 to the Bill: i.e. rent, a security deposit, a refundable holding deposit (set at a maximum of one week’s rent), “default” payments, and payments for services such as utilities and council tax. All other payments are “prohibited payments”, and therefore banned.
The Rent Smart Wales Code of Practice will be updated to reflect these changes. This means that requiring payment of a prohibited fee could put a licence to let or manage at risk.
Read more here.
Security of Tenure in the Private Rented Sector and no fault evictions
The First Minister has made a commitment to legislate to improve security of tenure in the private rented sector. The Minister for Housing and Local Government, also recently confirmed in the Senedd that the Welsh Government will be working closely with the sector to revise the basis on which tenancies can be ended. This position was confirmed at the Labour Party conference. The UK Government have subsequently made a similar announcement.
Careful consideration is being given to how this could be achieved in a way that creates fairer and more appropriate arrangements. Proposals will then be subject to full consultation in the summer and this will be an opportunity for all landlords, agents and those who rent in the Private Rented Sector to have their say.